New Jersey – Here’s a classic example of why some of us get a bit worried whenever laws named after children are passed. Two New Jersey teens were 14-years-old when they sat on the faces of 11-year-old and 12-year-old schoolmates, with their naked asses. Why? Because they are 14 and stupid. But because of Megan’s Law, these two teens will have to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.
One of the boys went to trial and the judge found him guilty of criminal sexual contact. The law states an act is criminal sexual contact if it’s done for sexual gratification or to degrade or humiliate the victim and the judge felt the kid’s actions fit the bill. It probably didn’t help that at least one of the victims may have been unintentionally teabagged.
Because of the conviction and Megan’s Law, the boy will have to registered as a sex offender and will have to notify police of changes of address or employment for the rest of his life. All because, as he told the judge, he thought what he did would be funny and he was trying to get his friends to laugh. The other boy pleaded guilty to criminal sexual contact and received the same sentence. A pretty harsh sentence if you ask me, a fact that was addressed by the court.
“We are keenly aware that our decision may have profound lifelong ramifications for these two boys as well as others similarly situated,” Judge Jose Fuentes wrote. “Although we are not unsympathetic to the arguments criticizing the application of the lifelong registration requirements in (Megan’s Law) to 14-year-old offenders, we are bound to uphold such application because that outcome is mandated by the Legislature,’’ the court said in its ruling.
And this is exactly why knee-jerk laws, like the proposed Caylee’s Law, are just not good ideas. They are implemented as quick fixes after the general public gets whipped into a torch-carrying frenzy by a criminal case popularized by the media. They are enacted with good intentions to appease the outraged masses without much, if any, foresight into their collateral consequences and often negatively effect people for which the laws were never intended. Some studies have even shown that these Megan-type laws are largely ineffective.
The boy’s are now 16 and have a chance of having their convictions overturned. Their cases are currently back to Superior Court, where one is to have a hearing on whether he understood the ramifications of pleading guilty, while the other is arguing his trial attorney sucked.
Look, I’m not saying that bullying should go unpunished, or that these two teens should go unpunished…but at least let the punishment fit the crime. These laws, effective or not, were not crated for them. These boys did not do what they did for sexual gratification and were probably mimicking the countless times they watched the guys in Jackass do the same damn thing. If these laws are to remain on the books, then at least have them modified to exclude this type of juvenile horseplaybullying.
Could you imagine how different THE BREAKFAST CLUB would have been if the students in detention had pulled their stunts today? Brian Johnson would be charged with arson and bringing a weapon on to school property, John Bender would be charged with inciting a riot and disorderly conduct while Andrew Clark would be charged with criminal sexual contact and assault.Tags: Crime, criminal sexual contact, Juvenile, Megan's Law, New Jersey, Sex Offender